Clinical training is considered an integral part of the doctoral program in clinical psychology. Clinical practica are organized to ensure a progression of clinical training experiences that correspond with the sequence of the course curriculum. Clinical practicum training plays an important role in the integration of theory, research and practice. Clinical practice provides opportunities for students to integrate critical thinking and hypotheses testing into their clinical activities and to assimilate an empirical, scientifically informed approach to clinical practice. The department works collaboratively with a number of off-site practicum training sites in the Illinois and Wisconsin areas. These settings include but are not limited to hospitals, medical centers, community mental health centers, school districts, and private practices. The department also has clinical programs that are supervised by department faculty. Students gain experience in general therapy and assessment skills, as well as training specifically in the three training tracks offered in the department, psychopathology, neuropsychology and health psychology. Although the department has a cognitive-behavioral orientation, the practicum training at the different sites expose students to multiple theoretical orientations and intervention techniques
Beginning in the first year, each student begins a series of practicum experiences that will total a minimum of 1000 hours (34 credit hours). Typically, students have an average of 2000 hours of clinical training by the time they apply for internships. Ideally a student obtains a breadth of clinical experiences including diagnostic interviewing skills, assessment and intervention skills. Clinical practica in Year 1 and Year 2 are designed to provide students clinical training in fundamental intervention and assessment skills. Training in the first two years is expected to prepare students for more advanced clinical training in years 3, 4, & 5 in track specific areas.
First Year Students are typically assigned to a practicum placement. The objective of first year practicum training is to introduce students to a setting providing clinical services so that a student is able to understand the roles and functions of clinical psychologists. First year students are typically expected to spend 6-8 hours per week in clinical practicum training. Placements include Head Start of Lake County, Healthy Families, the North Chicago VA, Vista Medical Center, and DuPage County Psychological Services.
From the beginning of the Second Year until the approval of the Masters Thesis proposal, students spend an average of 10-12 hours per week in clinical practicum training. The second year practicum consists of clinical service in a community-based setting coupled with a yearlong didactic course. Students first meet with the DCT and their respective advisor to discuss training and career goals in order to determine the appropriate placement for the second year practicum. Placements include psychological assessments for schools and adult centers as well as psychotherapy at the VA. Primary supervision will be provided on-site; however, a secondary supervisor will be assigned from the faculty to assist if necessary. To balance training, all students will have the opportunity to do both assessment and psychotherapy in their second year.
After approval of the Masters Thesis proposal, students may spend a maximum of 12 hours per week in practicum training. Students at this level typically choose practicum placements that are more intensive and closely match their area of interest (e.g., health psychology and neuropsychology). The Director of Clinical Training works with the student to facilitate specific placements.
Sample Practicum Placements
Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital
Center for Pain Control
Medical College of Wisconsin - Children's Hospital and Health System
Lutheran General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
University of Illinois Medical Center
Advanced Neuropsychology Practicum - Private Practice
Chicago Neuropsychology Group
Loyola University Medical Center Neuropsychology Services
Medical College of Wisconsin – Adult Neuropsychology
UIC Adult Neuropsychology Service
Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center
Adult and Adolescent Substance Abuse Program – Lake County
Adult Substance Abuse Program – Women’s Residential Services
Division of Psychological services: 19th Judicial Circuit
DuPage County Psychological Services: 18th Judicial Circuit
Josselyn Community Mental Health Center
Lake County Health Department of Probation – Drug and alcohol rehab
Naperville Pediatric Psychology and Development
North Chicago VA Medical Center/Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry – Eating and Weight Disorders
Vista Medical Center
Warren Township Youth and Family Services